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Harlem Shake Reached 1 Billion Views on YouTube

Harlem Shake Reached 1 Billion Views on YouTube image

Today the Harlem Shake videos views reached 1 Billion views. How does that compare to the other big viral hit, Gangnam Style, and what can we learn?

Although the early Harlem Shake videos went live on YouTube in January, the templates that really started to trend and attracted millions of views were at the beginning of February. Harlem Shake first hit 650 million views after four weeks. In comparison the music video by Gangnam Style by Korean pop artist Psy reached 650 million views 13 weeks after it was introduced to the public on YouTube, and only made 1 billion views after six months.

Social media bolstered the spread of the Gangnam Style video, allowing it to thrive in traditional channels worldwide (e.g. television), even though it was created for the South Korean market. Harlem Shake differs in the fact that viewers do not have to be familiar with the original video to appreciate the humor.

Since Gangnam Style was first posted on YouTube in July of 2012, brands like Red Bull, Intel, and M&M have posted their own parodies, many of which were in September. Major brands have been getting in on the Harlem Shake success too, but some of the organizations that received the most video views are rather surprising. For example the Norwegian Army and University of Georgia’s swim team.

There appears to be a quantifiable sweet spot to make sure that your video will go viral and your brand will stay afloat in the social media flood. The most viewed parodies seemed to appear some two to three weeks after the original trending video was released.

In order to determine what’s trending you must keep an eye on popular online culture and consider the analytics closely. When videos start getting over several million views over a couple of weeks it’s a sure sign that it’s on the verge of a trend.

The Norwegian Army's Harlem Shake


The University of Georgia Swim Team's Harlem Shake


Creating your own parody too early may give the impression that you are co-opting an organic trend. Whereas, joining to late will give you a disadvantage in popularity, as other brands will have already positioned themselves.

Social marketing must continuously evolve in real-time, which is why understanding how to engage your audiences and monitoring market trends are crucial components of your marketing strategy.

M&M's "Gangnam Style"


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